Big Bad Wolf: The Wolf At Bay – Charlie Adhara
Going home digs up bad memories, so it’s something Bureau of Special Investigations agent Cooper Dayton tries to avoid. When he’s guilted into a visit, Cooper brings along Oliver Park, his hot new werewolf partner, in the hopes the trip will help clarify their status as a couple…or not.
When Park’s keen shifter nose uncovers a body in the yard and Cooper’s father is the prime suspect, Cooper knows they’re on their own. Familial involvement means no sanctioned investigation. They’ll need to go rogue and solve the mystery quietly or risk seeing Cooper’s dad put behind bars.
The case may be cold, but Park and Cooper’s relationship heats up as they work. And yet if Cooper can’t figure out what’s going on between them outside of the bedroom, he’ll lose someone he… Well, he can’t quite put into words how he feels about Park. He knows one thing for sure: he’s not ready to say goodbye, though with the real killer inching ever closer…he may not have a choice.
I am currently on a shifter binge and Charlie Adhara’s wolves are my favorite wolves. Hers are simultaneously very wolfy and also not.
Case in point: Oliver Park. Proving that the seasick werewolf is the best werewolf.
Hints of him being not only just an alpha but quite possibly The Alpha. He did very alpha wolf things, like intimidate the other wolves into submission. That includes dogs. He’s also afraid of water, not good with boats and needs reading glasses he’s too embarrassed to wear in public. A refreshing change from the usual indestructible, tough guy specimens we normally get.
As much as I would like to see major wolf action (shifting, marking, etc), I also enjoyed the novelty of having a shifter book focusing on realism rather than the paranormal. The book felt like a very low-key commentary on the genre. They are serious about the whole werewolf business but there’s also a sense of not taking it too seriously. Cooper and Oliver constantly exchanged repartee that, among many things, made fun of wolfy stuff including the mate aspect. Which is probably what I would do too, if I suddenly find myself in the company of supernatural creatures.
Said exchange of repartee is what made the The Wolf At Bay come alive. I live for Cooper and Park’s banters! I could listen to them all day. Park is a normally taciturn person and I enjoyed the moments where Coop drew out his playful side. They just CLICKED!
“As you pointed out before, I’ve made my feelings clear. So.”
Silence. He glanced up and was caught in Park’s slow smile.
The smile widened. “Papa, no! I luurve him,” Park said dramatically, and put a hand to his brow.
Also, ♡ porcupine ♡!
Obviously, I love Park. The man is a sweetheart. He’s good for Coop. I like it that they’re also really good friends aside than whatever else they were. And, yes!!! been waiting for it, the story shed some light on his background. Not too much but enough of a teaser for the third book. Still not fully shifting tho.
Cooper is more difficult. But I get him. I get the anxiety and the fears. He and Park talked about anything and everything, constantly dancing around the thing they actually wanted to talk about. Coop took baby steps. I wanted to hurry him along but these things need to be taken at one’s own pace. And Park, ever patient bless him, never failed to let him know he will be there every step of the way.
So here I am at the edge of my seat, on high alert for any tiny gesture or small words that spoke volumes of how they really felt. Until they finally took the plunge and it was all very ♡✧。(◍＞◡＜◍ ⋈ )。✧♡!!! (And in keeping with the character of the series, they joked about that moment later on too).
Like most book twos, The Wolf At Bay is a transition to the next installment but there’s so much more to it. It’s a story about coming to terms with the past and the present. Also a cleverly written mystery and just cleverly written overall. There were major strides in character development, romance and family relationships. The dialogues were sharper and wittier than ever.
The case was a really good one. I was completely in the dark until the end. It was complex and multi-layered, unearthing not only a literal skeleton but many other skeletons of the Dayton family and the rest of the neighborhood. It made you question, how well do you really know the people you grew up with?
This dreaded hometown visit was a long time coming. It took Park, and us, on an awkward tour of Cooper’s childhood. Coop had to confront childhood monsters, adolescent crushes and his own brother and father. There were ghosts that needed to be exorcised. The air (desperately) needed to be cleared. Everything eventually tied in with the werewolf business and it only got messier. Yikes!
All in all, The Wolf At Bay is a great second book. I loved it better than the first.
Big Bad Wolf should be read in order. Book one, The Wolf At The Door here.
4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away